mcclaren hall stage
Dec 21, 2022
Lively Times

State of the Art: Wachholz College Center

Montana’s newest performing arts center – McClaren Hall at the Wachholz College Center – debuted this fall in Kalispell, and offers an impressive slate of performances this winter, including the Marshall Tucker Band, New York Philharmonic String Quartet, and saxophone great Branford Marsalis.

Named after Paul D. Wachholz, Kalispell’s new Wachholz College Center is a uniquely designed 58,000-square-foot facility that eloquently combines two distinct venues into one stunning building on the campus of Flathead Valley Community College.

Designed by Cushing Terrell Architects and built by Swank Enterprises, the center houses McClaren Hall, a 1,014-seat performing arts center designed with superb acoustics and flexibility to accommodate concerts of all genres, lectures, dance performances and musical theatre productions.

The Wachholz College Center also features the Stinson Family Event Center, a dual court gymnasium with breathtaking northeastern views; and a fitness center with state-of-the-art exercise equipment and a flexible health and wellness space for yoga, pilates and more. The Jane A. Karas Reception Hall serves as the connection between the Stinson Family Event Center and McClaren Hall.

The spacious Wanda Hollensteiner Art Gallery shares its inaugural exhibit, Gateway to Glacier, through January. The curated selection of paintings, photography and sculptures comes from the Hockaday Museaum’s permanent collection.

In addition to these spaces, the Wachholz College Center includes:
• The gorgeous Swank Recital Hall, which can be used for smaller, intimate performances or receptions;
• The O’Shaughnessy Outdoor Amphitheater, a gorgeous outdoor performance space with eastern facing views;
• And a variety of music education classrooms and practice rooms to enhance the FVCC Music Department.

Among the artists coming to McClaren Hall in the New Year:

The Marshall Tucker Band, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 20: Since 1972, the storied band has been in tune with tearing it up on live stages both big and small across the globe ever since. Their mighty music catalog, consisting of more than 20 studio albums and a score of live releases, has racked up multi-platinum album sales many times over.

The New York Philharmonic String Quartet, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 28: The illustrious foursome is comprised of four principal musicians from the orchestra and was formed in January 2017, during the Philharmonic’s 175th anniversary season.

An Evening with Branford Marsalis, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 13: This celebrated ensemble is revered for its uncompromising interpretation of a kaleidoscopic range of both original compositions and jazz and popular classics.

Tommy Emmanuel, 7 p.m. Feb. 22: Considered by those in the know to be among this planet’s greatest guitarists, the Australian-born artist’s licks are miraculous.

Brian Regan, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 26: The comedian’s first Netflix special, Brian Regan: Nunchucks and Flamethrowers, premiered to rave reviews in November 2017.

The Suffers, 8 p.m. March 3: This Gulf Coast soul band from Houston delivers dance-inducing elements of classic American soul and rock ’n roll

Voctave, 7:30 p.m. March 21: Hailing from Central Florida, the 11-member a cappella sensation has performed across the globe and appeared on countless recordings.

Marc Cohn and Shawn Colvin, 7 p.m. April 2: Two of a generation’s favorite singer-songwriters come together onstage for a special evening. Cohn, a Grammy Award winner for his soulful ballad “Walking in Memphis,” and Colvin, a Grammy winner for “Sunny Came Home,” offer a night of songs and stories.

The center also offers a speaker series that includes a talk by well-known writer and writing teacher Anne Lamott on Jan. 31, and a National Geographic Live series, featuring “Nature Roars Back” with Bob Poole on Jan. 26. McClaren Hall is also the the new home of the Glacier Symphony, which performs the classic 70s music of David Bowie, Electric Light Orchestra, Peter Gabriel, Procol Harem and the Moody Blues Feb. 18 in Jeans and Classics.

Call the box office at 406-756-1400 or visit the Wachholz College Center website.